What are the obvious benefits of fraternities? Is it worth it? Is there drama? What are some of the things I should be wary of? What if I can’t find others to work with?
Si Vales, Valeo
You say you are learning more about Thelema on your own than when working with other Thelemites. This is a common issue. The people in your fraternal group seem to be more fascinated with Crowley than they are with The Law. I suspect it is because the Law is for All, while Crowley is a brand that can be trademarked and subject to copyrights. My parents always told me to follow the money. Best advice I ever got.
The upside to fraternities, Orders and Schools is peer review. The idea is to surround yourself with like-minded people doing similar work. This way, people who are more experienced than you can offer you assistance, and help you avoid some obstacles they may have already overcome. This is how we evolve in knowledge and experience.
In a group, you are subject to initiations and knowledge lectures that will help you to understand the organizational egregore. You have to make sure that your Will is aligned with the egregore.
So, what is an egregore?
It is a metaphysical concept representing a collective group mind. It is made up by the thoughts and desires of a group of people, eventually becoming autonomous and able to lead a group of people toward their stated goals. In one simple sentence, it is the spirit animating and leading the group. Egregores are all around us. When a band forms around a particular style or philosophy of music, and egregore is created. It is the invisible member in the band which guides and affects the focus and direction of the band. When corporations are created, an egregore can be expected to be unconsciously created by members of the board. Every marriage has a egregore. The longer one works at whatever it is they are doing, the stronger the egregore.
When you join a fraternity or magical group, your job as a magician is to plug yourself into that source.
All of this to say, there is an egregore for Thelema, that is much bigger than anything that can be contained within one group. That egregore exists for everyone that wishes to live in a Thelemic world, and in accordance to The Law. To tap into that egregore, which exists for solitary practitioners of magick and Thelema, one simply has to be sincere and willing to work hard. In other words: DO Thelema. Accomplish social change through a political movement. Start a band or become an artist. You can do those things without bringing religion into it or selling your soul to a group that wants to cash in on your dues.
I was once involved with a group which was supposed to be a magical university of some sort, according to Crowley, which eventually did nothing but to push all Magicians away. They decided that magick was really not that important, and it is superstitious after all, so why not focus more on the things which would benefit the leaders of the Order? They destroyed the egregore, and the karmic backlash for that is going to be huge.
The nature of the Work requires elitism.
Elitism requires discrimination. We live in a dualistic world, and if there is no difference between one group and another group we would all be doing the same Work. You say people you have met in a particular fraternity “don’t seem to get it.” If you want a club of people that “get it” then you will have to discriminate. That is what we do in OTK. We are not for everyone, and not everyone can navigate our teachings, initiations and interpretation of Thelema. This doesn’t mean we are better than every other Thelemic organization out there. Only that we are different.
Any group, no matter how big, is going to be a microcosm of the macrocosm that is our culture, and in the West we have huge problems. Every culture has its poisons and disease, and technology has become ours. We have become too comfortable being separated from one another. We prioritize money and toys to such an extent that almost always interferes with our spiritual-magical progress. To do the work, one must dive head first into the Darkness to find Light. Who wants to go through that when you can get a pizza and watch Netflix instead?
I hope you do not give up trying to find companionship on your journey, I encourage you to hang in there. You aren’t “most people.” That is both a blessing and a curse. Embrace it, appreciate it and love yourself for it. There is really no other choice. It isn’t ego. It is what it is.
Make it about Love.
Love is so much a part of Our Law. One of the most enlightening conversations I had with Phyllis Seckler dealt with the fact that she never married after Grady. She was told she would be alone, and that she wouldn’t have and earthly partner. Phyllis accepted and kept her end of the bargain until the day she died. She was happy going through life dancing with her Angel. And deep down inside, isn’t that what you want too?